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Riverratpete

Shooting illegal birds

36 posts in this topic

To my horror this morning I actually witnessed some brain dead guys drop a swan on a Northern Anoka county lake..all this took place while I was having a teaching moment with my son about knowing your targets, this is a swan..not a goose, etc....the good news...someone else saw them drop it also and beat me to dropping a dime to TIP. There are now a couple lads that lost their guns to the local co and the minimum replacement cost of a Swan? $5000.00 not including fines, court fees, etc...don't think we'll be seeing these #@$ho^es for awhile...almost like watching "Eforce" live.

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Up until the moment I read you post I was having a so-so evening. Now I've had a GREAT day! Of course, I regret the loss of the swan.

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Glad these poachers were caught, I still can not believe how any one can mistake a swan for snow goose.

They are absolutly huge and the long neck should also be a noteable identification feature on them.

Benny

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I have seen quite a few swans dropped in the past. I have called tip myself, and have screamed at the people shooting at them before I had a cell phone(years ago).

This is the 1st time I have heard someone getting busted for it... I am glad they got caught!

About 10 years ago I put out my decoys on a metro body of water for an afternoon hunt... I pushed my boat into grass and glanced over at something and it was 2 dead swans sitting right next to my boat. Another time I saw a guy at the access with 2 of them(many years ago) very proud of his *snow geese*. I called the DNR later that day with his license plate number and reported it. Several people told him they were swans, he wouldnt believe it.

For the origional poster.. *thumbs up* to getting your kid out in the field and teaching him how to hunt properly!

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I just returned from ducking hunting inside the West Central Goose Zone the last 4 days where the goose season is NOT open until 10/19. I could not believe the people calling, shooting at and killing geese while duck hunting.

We had words with some nearby and they continued to shoot until they must have finally got the point. TIP was called and unfortunately a few hours passed and nobody responded when we packed up and left.

It does not hurt to keep the regs in your shell box and read it often to be sure.

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And your son even got a demostration of what happens if you don't know yout target.

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TIP is great, and I'm a supporter, but honestly guys if you see something happening and need quick enforcement, call your local sheriff's office they can have immediate contact with the local game warden or even send a deputy. TIP is better at handling ongoing things or non-immediate things.

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A few years back early one morning my brother, neighbor and one other guy were hunting when early in the morning what the one guy thought was a goose came by low over the water, he shot once and it lifted into the air above the horizon when my brother noticed it was a swan. My brother told him not to shoot again as the guy had missed on the first shot. Thank goodness he missed. The guy that took the shot died later that same year (he was a bit old). To some degree, I can understand if someone is very young or very old and has mistakenly shot a swan. It doesn't make it right by any means since the young should be educated properly and the elderly should know better, but mistakes can happen. I'm not saying it's okay to make a mistake by shooting a swan or violating other laws, I'm simply saying that mistakes can and do happen. Hopefully mistakes are kept to a minimum. smirk.gif

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your right lawdog, I've tried calling TIP a couple of times, but they seem to follow up on the ongoing events as mentioned. The only thing is, most people dont know their sheriff's # in their county that they are hunting, i have the Beltrami's # in my cell though! along with tip

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Two years ago a friend and myself were hunting on Crown WMA and noticed three swans coming into decoys. One person on the swamp shot and we started to yell DO NOT SHOOT SWANS. Well some kids to our right started shooting as well. Then a third group. We were still yelling not to shoot.

One swan was killed and dropped in the water. A second landed by its mate; an (Contact Us Please) shot the bird on the water to wound it.

We called the local CO who was about 25 miles away. He made it there in less then 10 minutes. Just as we were explaining to the CO who shot - some guy boated out to the wounded swan and opened fire 4 times (without reloading). The CO was not too happy - turned on his lights and siren - got on mic and said "hey DO NOT SHOOT" all you (Contact Us Please) off the water!"

All in all seven people had their boats, guns, shells, waders and camo (yup he made them take all their camo off) condiscated. He also made them chase the wounded bird for an hour to try and capture it (if you catch the bird you might get a break by the judge).

From what I understand is that each guy paid like $2500 and had their small game hunting rights taken away for a year or two; plus had to pay for two more birds to be raised and placed in the wild.

We got a nice print from TIP; as I sit in my office looking up its a good reminder.

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I've only called TIP once. The CO called me about 32 seconds after I hung up the phone after calling TIP. I thought that was pretty stinkin cool.

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In the few occasions that i have called TIP, the officer has never showed up in time to catch the people in the act. I should definitely get a local number for our police department that something can be done quicker otherwise they will be likely to break the law again.

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A wisconsin CO on the st croix told me to call 911 if I had to get in contact with the CO immediately.

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Yes mistakes can happen,but a swan for a goose?????? confused.gif

I friend of mine called the CO for a guy that shot a elk.He said he thought it was a deer??????

know what your shooting at or dont hunt.

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I do think that's alittle extreme of a reaction. You would hope that everyone is as educated as you but somethimes that just isn't the case. If someone makes a mistake..they pay the penalty, that's why there is one. There is no way to effectively say, if you dont know dont hunt. This is a free country and unfortunatley that means free to make mistakes. Lets not get "holier than thou", that to me is just as ugly. Hopefully people learn from their mistakes and pass those leasons learned on to others. Nuff said. Unless your perfect and have never made a mistake in your life.

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I don't know ironman, I tend to agree with your thoughts but in the case of accidentally shooting swans, there is no excuse IMO.

Maybe you haven't ever had trumpeter swans fly over your blind, or try to land in your decoys, but my god, there is absolutely no way of confusing them for anything else. The ponds that I hunt have at least a dozen trumpeters that live in the area. We see them all the time and I have yet to confuse one for anything.

These birds need protection, and if fining people $2,000+ and confiscating gear is what it takes to get the message across, than I'm all for it.

The waterfowl regulations you receive when you purchase your license specifically discuss swan identification, and indicate they are protected. Ignorance is no excuse.

Am I holier than thou? I don't think so but I apparently am according to your comments.

My opinion, I'm a safe and ethical waterfowler that abides by the law. But I guess that makes me "holier than thou" now too.

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I agree wholeheartedly with Hanson--there is NO EXCUSE for someone mistaking a swan for anything. If you make that mistake, you should NOT have been out there with a loaded firearm to begin with. I have very little tolerance for someone who doesn't abide by / know the regulations or who is ignorant to proper hunting etiquette. If someone wants to get involved in waterfowling and they don't have someone to show them the ropes, ther are resources out there to educate people before they even go out hunting. Maybe I'm an idealist but to me this is just common sense.

SA

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I agree 100% as well. One of the fundamental issues that is discussed in every beginning hunter's hunter safety class is target identification. Always be 100% sure of your target or don't shoot. This is something that I feel should go for young and old alike. Youngsters should have a mentor with them who can teach them the right path, and elderly people should have enough respect for the sport to simply hang it up when they get to the point that they can no longer be safe and ethical. If it is ok for someone to mistake a swan for a snow goose (Where there is a huge difference), then is it ok for someone to mistake a turkey decoy for a turkey? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Making this mistake puts not only the animal in question at risk, but the life of other fellow hunters. I hunt turkeys primarily on public land in the Black Hills and would feel much more safe if the guys who think it is ok to make a target identification mistake would not be hunting in my area at all!

My Point: Know your target before you shoot. There is no such thing as a shoot now, sort it out later situation.

Dave Frank

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Or in my case - a smaller pond area with three sets of hunters. And me and my friend yelling DO NOT SHOOT.. SWANS!!!! They even said they could hear us yelling swans but thought WE WERE WRONG.

I mean come on - is a goose or duck worth making this mistake?

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Bottom line: If you kill a swan you should never be able to hunt again. A swan is 3 times larger than a canada goose and 5 times larger than a snow or ross'.

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I understand what you guys are saying, that there is no excuse....but imagine you're 75 or even 80 years old, your eyesight isn't what it used to be, it just turned shooting time, it's overcast, you see the slihouette of what appears to be a goose coming by low over the water and you haven't seen a swan in your area for years, perhaps ever....it's a perfect menu for making a mistake. Mistakes happen...we're all human. We can't say that we'll never ever make a mistake....the best we can do is try and prevent them from occurring.

Here's a real zinger for everybody....if you by chance did make the mistake of shooting a swan...would you turn yourself in as quickly as you'd turn someone else in? Knowing you'll pay for it dearly? smirk.gif

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If you accidentally kill someone because you didn't see them in a crosswalk are you guilty of killing someone. Ignorance is not a legal defense in this country, unless you are so stupid you don't know right from wrong. And if that is the case I hope your gun is taken away. I agree mistakes happen and yes killing a swan is not the same as running a person over, but it is just as illegal. Obviously each person has to make a decision if or when they do accidentally do commit a crime. Some will own up to it, others will hide it, and the sick ones will profess that no crime was ever committed even when caught red handed.

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Quote:

I understand what you guys are saying, that there is no excuse....but imagine you're 75 or even 80 years old, your eyesight isn't what it used to be, it just turned shooting time, it's overcast, you see the slihouette of what appears to be a goose coming by low over the water and you haven't seen a swan in your area for years, perhaps ever....it's a perfect menu for making a mistake. Mistakes happen...we're all human. We can't say that we'll never ever make a mistake....the best we can do is try and prevent them from occurring.

Here's a real zinger for everybody....if you by chance did make the mistake of shooting a swan...would you turn yourself in as quickly as you'd turn someone else in? Knowing you'll pay for it dearly?
smirk.gif


If this is the situation that unfolds, then the elderly hunter should pass on the shot opportunity of the unidentified bird!! It is a very simple concept: Know your target before you shoot! If it means waiting an extra five, ten or even fifteen minutes until it is light enough to see clearly enough to know what you are shooting at, then so be it.

To answer your second question, I have encountered numerous swans while hunting snow geese. It is not at all difficult to identify between the two. I don't claim to be perfect, but I will tell you that I am sure of what I am shooting at EVERY time I pull the trigger. This is basic hunter safety and ethics. I was taught right from the moment my father and I first stepped into the field.

Dave Frank

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I was almost there once.

I was sitting in my blind when the geese started flying out of the nearby refuge. There were geese EVERYWHERE and I knew I'd get my two birds out of one flock if I played my cards right.

I noticed a trio of geese heading right toward me and they were lower than most of the other geese. I hunkered down and got ready. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I spotted a goose cupped and coming to my decoys hard. I instinctively hit the safety, shouldered the gun and swung on the bird. I was a split second away from pulling the trigger when I noticed something wasn't right. I wasn't sure what it was at first. But, in a second I realized how close I had come to shooting a young swan. It was grey and not white and I didn't mistake it for a snowgoose, I mistook it for a canada goose. It was close. But, it was a grey day and it all happened so fast. I ignored the swan that had now landed in my goose decoys and swung on that trio of geese and dropped my two birds.

Mistakes can happen fast. It was close.

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Good job on identifying your target quickly. Like I stated... there is no such thing as a shoot now, sort it out later situation. Simply sitting up quickly and swinging on what is "thought" to be a goose is how mistakes are made. It all boils down to target identification before firing. In this case, although close, you did identify your target before a mistake was made.

Congratulations on the geese as well.

Dave Frank

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